Indian Fields Methodist Campground
Indian Field Methodist Campground
The Tabernacle at the Indian Field Methodist Campground
|Nearest city||St. George, South Carolina|
|NRHP Reference #||73001707|
|Added to NRHP||March 30, 1973|
Indian Field Methodist Campground is a camp meeting site for the Methodist Church in Dorchester County, South Carolina. It is on SC Route S-18-73, off US Route 15, about 5 mi (8 km) north of Saint George. Indian Field was built in 1848 and has been a site for religious gatherings for over 160 years. It was named a historic district of the National Register of Historic Places on March 30, 1973.
Religious camp meetings played an important role in the growth of some Protestant denominations in the early 19th century in rural parts of the United States. These meetings served a much wider population than a single church. Camp meetings usually lasted around a week and were social as well as religious occasions for the participants. A typical camp meeting site started with a brush arbor surrounded by tents and wagons. Often a chapel or "tabernacle" was built to replace the arbor and wooden cabins called "tents" were built to replace actual tents.
The Indian Field United Methodist Church is located on U.S. Highway 15 about 2 miles (3 km) north of the campground and just south of U.S. Highway 178. This church began in 1787. Its first building was about 3 mi (5 km) east of the unincorporated Rosinville community at the intersection of U.S. Highways 15 and 178. The second church was built around 1819 near the current church. The third church was finished in 1886. The current church was completed in 1955.
The first Indian Field Campground was held on a farm in the late 18th century. It was probably located near the first church building. Bishop Francis Asbury noted in his journal that he preached at "Indian Fields" on December 21, 1801 and January 13, 1803. His journal does not say if he preached at the campground or the church. Other sources indicate that this campground was established in 1810.
On February 25, 1995, an intentional fire burned several structures at the campground. The person who set the fire was never apprehended.
The existing campground consists of the central tabernacle surrounded by ninety-nine cabins of wooden construction. These cabins are referred to as "tents". Although is frequently stated that the tents are arrayed in a circle, they are actually arranged roughly in an octagon.
The tabernacle  is a wooden pavilion with a gablet roof. The roof has exposed rafters and is supported by wooden posts. The pavilion has a raised preacher's stand at its northern end and three sections of wooden pews. It seats over 1,000.
The "tents" have a metal roof and are of two stories. The internal layout of each tent varies, but typically each has two upstairs bedrooms with a central stairway. The downstairs usually has a dining area towards the front and another bedroom at the rear. Historically the occupants of the upstairs bedrooms were divided by gender, while the downstairs bedroom was reserved for the older members of the family. The downstairs rooms may be connected with a hallway, or the rooms may have individual exterior doors. The downstairs areas have dirt floors that are typically covered with straw during camp meetings. The cooking area is below a shed attached to the rear of the tent. There is a wood-burning brick or cinderblock fireplace under the cook shed, and usually a small room for the cook's quarters. A typical floor plan of the larger cabin has been published.
The single-story preacher's cabin is larger and taller than the other cabins. It has a four-panel door flanked by two-over-two light windows.
There is a paved road around the campground. Outside this road, each cabin has a privy. Historically there were shared water wells in front of the cabins and stands for blazing pine knots to light the area at dark, however currently each tent has water and electric service.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13.
- "Indian Field Methodist Camp Ground, Dorchester County (S.C. Hwy. 73, St. George vicinity)". National Register Properties in South Carolina. South Carolina Department of Archives and History. Retrieved 17 April 2009.
- Dixon, Caroline (28 July 1972). "Indian Field Methodist Campground" (pdf). National Register of Historic Properties Inventory - Nomination Form. National Park Service. Retrieved 17 April 2009.
- Edgar, Walter; The Humanities CouncilSC (2006). South Carolina Encyclopedia. Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press. pp. 125–126. ISBN 1-57003-598-9.
- "Indian Field United Methodist Church St. George , South Carolina". Indian Field United Methodist Church. Archived from the original on 2009-08-09. Retrieved 20 April 2009.
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- Federal Writer's Program of the Works Progress Administration (1941). South Carolina: A Guide to the Palmetto State. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 101, 307.
- Betts, Albert Deems (1952). History of South Carolina Methodism. Advocate Press. p. 340.
- Julien, Carl; Chlotilde R. Martin (1954). Sea Islands to Sand Hills. Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press. pp. 71, 72, 115.
- "Significant Wildfire Events in SC History Chronology by Year". Significant Wildfire Events in SC History. South Carolina Forestry Commission. Retrieved 18 April 2009.
- "+33° 13' 22.00", -80° 32' 46.00"". Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 18 April 2009.
- Baldwin, William P. (2007). Sacred Places of the Lowcountry. Charleston, South Carolina: The History Press. pp. 147–151. ISBN 1-59629-346-2.
- "Indian Fields Methodist Campground, SC Route 73, .7 mile from SC Route 15, Saint George vicinity, Dorchester County, SC". Historic American Building Survey. National Park Service. 1988. Retrieved 18 April 2009.
- "Indian Field Methodist Campground, Chapel, SC Route 73, near US Route 15, Saint George, Dorchester County, SC". Historic American Building Survey. National Park Service. 1988. Retrieved 18 April 2009.